Henrik Lundqvist’s 4th shutout of the year made Mark Staal’s second period goal stand up as the Rangers defeated the Islanders 2-0 at Madison Square Garden yesterday to complete the sweep of the home and home series. Brian Boyle’s empty netter with 2.6 seconds remaining accounted for the final margin.
One night after scoring 5 goals, and mounting comebacks after falling behind by 2 goals twice, the Islanders had no answer for Lundqvist (11-9-1 2.54 GAA), and managed a season low 17 shots on goal. Isles G Dwayne Roloson turned aside 20 of 21 shots in defeat.
“I told him after the game that he gave us a great opportunity,” Islanders forward John Tavares said of Roloson. “We can’t ask for more from him than what he gave us.”
Staal’s second period goal came after an Islanders’ failed clearing attempt in their own zone while trying to kill a penalty. A screen by Alex Frolov completely blocking Roloson’s view was key to the goal.
“I didn’t see it. It was a nice shot,” Roloson said. “You’re lucky if it hits you.”
The Islanders best chance to tie the game came in the third period, when D Jack Hillen’s blue line drive from the left point banged off the post.
The game was played in direct contrast to Thursday night’s game, when the two teams combined for 11 goals and only 3 power play opportunities. Instead of freeskating, goal scoring chances, this game was a tight defensive struggle, with only one goal and 15 penalties called through 59.5 minutes of play.
“No matter where these teams are in the standings, they are always screwed-up games when the Rangers and the Islanders play,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “I thought we handled ourselves very well.”
With the loss, the Islanders fell to 1-2 vs. the Rangers this season, and 5-14-5 overall. The Isles 15 pts are the fewest in the NHL this season, and they are now 1-13-3 in their last 17 games.
The Islanders look to rebound vs. the second-place Philadelphia Flyers, themselves losers of 3 straight, Sunday at the Coliseum. Game time is 1pm.
PLUS/MINUS: Minus- The Islanders 17 SOG was their lowest total of the season. Minus – The Isles were 0-2 on the power play, running their power outage to 32 straight chances without a goal over the last 10 games. Plus – Roloson continues to play well, and despite being 2-10-1, his GAA is 2.46. He could garner trade interest. Plus – D Bruno Gervais (broken cheekbone) should be back in the lineup shortly. He was fitted with a cage to protect his face after suffering the injury a week ago Friday in a fight with the Devils’ Colin White.
About the Author
Written by Patrick Creighton
Host of the Sportswire - Fridays from 6-7pm, on 88.1fm WCWP (NY), www.wcwp.org, and www.wcwpsports.org. Play-by-play voice for CW Post Football. Contributing writer to WCWPSports.com, ProSportsBlogging.com. Has appeared on 660 WFAN-NY and YES Network.